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Word of the Day
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Definitions for cataract

  1. A great fall of water over a precipice; a large waterfall.
  2. A downpour; a flood.
  3. A clouding or opacity of the lens or capsule of the eye, which obstructs the passage of light.

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Citations for cataract
Niagara is no virgin. Today, its cataract can be stopped with the pull of a lever, and less than half its natural flow pours over the precipice. Thurston Clarke, New York Times
Bartram was an ace self-dramatizer and avid explorer of nature, whose journals are full of blood and thunder and such dramatic observations of animals as this one of the American crocodile: "His enormous body swells. His plaited tail brandished high, floats upon the lake. The waters like a cataract descend from his opening jaws. Clouds of smoke issue from his dilated nostrils." Diane Ackerman, New York Times
Origin of cataract
Cataract is from Latin cataracta, "a waterfall, a portcullis," from Greek kataraktes, katarrhaktes, from katarassein, "to dash down," from kata-, "down" + arassein, "to strike, dash."
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